No, you can’t touch my afro

Mitts off, it’s mine

Studying the duty-free with my Mum and Dad at the airport, a male salesman in his fifties approaches me with not even a “Hi” but just a “Ooh I love your hair. Can I touch it?”. It wasn’t the first time it’s happened, and it probably won’t be the last. “Thanks, but I’d prefer it if you didn’t thanks” I said with a tired smile.

As he left my dad stared after the man angrily and fumed “I can’t believe he just asked you that”. Dad, you have no idea. Ever since I threw out my GHDs and market bought 18” extensions, people have been fascinated with my natural hair. Sure, I love a compliment, but sometimes people take it a tad too far.

The most attentive men are leery, old and downright weird

Everyone appreciates a compliment, especially me. But it can get a bit much. Once when working as a bar maid, a lonely drinker who first beckoned me over with a sincere hair compliment, asked me whether I was free on Monday to come and support him during his court case for domestic abuse. He would not let go of my hands.

You can’t walk down the street with someone shouting out their car at you

As a woman, you unfortunately get used to the occasional catcall beckoned from a passing car of sexually frustrated males. However, being referred to as Sideshow Bob on a Thursday afternoon from a passing Subaru is not my idea of romance.

People think you look like everyone else with an afro

I don’t look like Tina Turner, I don’t look like Diana Ross, I don’t look like Angela Davis, I don’t look like Scary Spice (unless it’s Halloween), I don’t look like Kelis and I’m not a prepubescent Michael Jackson. Just let me do me.

In other countries you’re looked upon as a circus act

When walking with friends in England, they always comment on how much I get stared at- but I tend not to notice anymore. However, throw me into a less ethnically diverse country and they may aswell place me in a zoo. In a club in a small town in Germany over 10 people asked to touch my hair in one night. When my friend flipped out at one guy and asked, “Have you never seen an afro before”, he replied, “No”. Fair enough.

Being in a club and having an afro is like moth to a flame 

I’m out having a dance with the gals- who have luscious hair of their own, blonde locks, edgy brunette bobs, bloody hell, one of them even has rainbow streaks, and not one person has asked to touch their hair. Yet funnily enough, there’s practically a queue of drunk sweaty men, fingers poised for some grabbing action, surrounding me. There’s such a thing as personal space you know lads.

People think it’s a wig

It is not a wig.

Touch without consent

I’m in the queue at a café and feel a fat finger prodding at my scalp.

“Ooh, it feels like a cloud”

Yeah, Hi, who are you?

And I’m pretty sure I didn’t say you could touch me pal.

People don’t talk to me, they talk to the fro

Hey, I’m a pretty nice gal, if you’d get to know me. I get you’re not gonna be looking at my tits, they’re nothing special, but, no worries, you’re distracted at the bush on my head. Cool.

Apparently, I’m in constant curl competition

There’s another girl in the room who also has an afro. So therefore, friends insist that you are now in competition with each other. Deciding factors are size, curl composition and shine.